Perhaps it’s because I have a baby. Or that I watched An Inconvenient Truth. Or that I’ve been watching a lot of Oprah. Or that my eyes are open wider than ever before.
Because the thing is, I want to improve the world. I want to do something. I want my daughter to live in a world that is not full of terrorists and global warming and war. At the very least, I want my daughter to act in such a way as to improve upon these things. And if I want my daughter to do so, then I must as well.
While my mom was in town last weekend, we wandered the shops of my town. We ventured into one funky shop full of household items, accessories and clothing all eco-inspired, organic and/or green. There I bought a book on a whim.
Entitled ‘Change the World for Ten Bucks- 50 ways to make a difference’, it is full of 50 actions that all of us can do everyday to help improve our world.
Too preachy for you? Come on… Try Action 19- Learn one good joke. Or #3- Spend time with a child. How about #35- Write to someone who inspired you.
So here I begin my actions, starting with Action 39- Shop Locally.
I suppose I actually started this action in December. Walmart had just moved to town (don’t get me wrong, I shop Walmart monthly for diapers and household items) and I wanted to show my support to the local businesses that they can survive even with a Walmart here. It would have been easy to buy quick, convenient gifts there. Instead, I found more meaningful, thoughtful gifts in bookstores and funky shops around town (think bendable joe rock climber, scrapbooks, fairtrade coffees and treats and so on).
Not only did I get better gifts, I got better service as well. Think of your worst customer service experience ever. Now think of the best. I would be willing to bet a big box store gave you the worst. I know mine are. Just the other day we tried to return a vaccum that simply spread black dog hair along the carpet. The manager refused to take it back and was an asshole about it the entire time. Only after I came home, printed off his own companies return policy and mission statement, and took it back in, did the vacuum get returned.
The best customer service I have recieved lately would have to be from ‘Ten Thousand Villages’. A fair trade store, volunteers explained the shops purpose, provided us with fair trade coffee and biscuits, allowed us to browse freely with no sales pressure, and smiled throughout. I ended up spending a fortune.
The start of the book quotes a brilliant African Proverb-
“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.”
So now I start. Lil ol’ me.
Making a Difference.